Implicit Religion, Vol 21, No 1 (2018)

Christian Discourses and Cultural Change: The Greenbelt Art and Performance Festival as an Alternative Community for Green and Liberal Christians

Maria Nita
Issued Date: 5 Feb 2019

Abstract


The article examines the Greenbelt festival in the UK, looking at how Green and Liberal Christians experiment with sacred spaces during worship occasions, talks and workshops. I show that Greenbelt represents a syncretic encounter between the modern festival culture on one hand and Christian community experiments and aspirations on the other, some that can be traced back to the nineteenth century Romantic Movement. I posit that the festival represents a trans-denominational community of choice for a progressive faction within the main Christian congregations in Britain, and in particular the Anglican Church. Furthermore I discuss ways in which participants experiment with cultural change, adopting a circle model of spatial organisation or via artistic expression. I observe relations between speakers and audiences, showing that a discourse of "openness and vulnerability" represents a critique of the "rigidity" of the Church, whilst a discourse of "secret meanings and misunderstandings" functions as a mechanism for revision inside the tradition. I postulate that the multiple outdoor spaces and fields of the modern art and performance festival can better accommodate the wider contemporary "believing and belonging" spectrum.

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DOI: 10.1558/imre.37354

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